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It doesn’t take long for fame to take its toll, so it’s lucky Mar­got Rob­bie has friends in high places.

“It has been great to have some­one like Will (Smith) to go to for ad­vice. I hve said to him: ‘How do I deal with this? What do I do? I’m so con­fused.’”

No doubt she’s a lit­tle sen­si­tive af­ter the world­wide me­dia storm over Van­ity Fair’s cover story, ‘The sum­mer of Mar­got Rob­bie’, in which the writer made some se­ri­ously strange re­marks in­clud­ing: “Aus­tralia is Amer­ica 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throw­back, which is why you go there for throw­back peo­ple.” Erm...

Rob­bie re­torts. “Oh yeah, he was so right. We’re not even us­ing the in­ter­net yet. We still have fax ma­chines – but ap­par­ently we’ll be get­ting it soon!”

Fiercely pa­tri­otic, she says: “It was bizarre. I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand what he was get­ting at. It was def­i­nitely not an ac­cu­rate por­trayal of Aus­tralia at all and any­one who’s been there knows it’s an in­cred­i­ble coun­try full of won­der­ful peo­ple. It has a film in­dus­try and more and more jobs are go­ing there.

“Ac­tu­ally, I’m hop­ing to have a new film there soon so I have an ex­cuse to be home.”

In New York with her costar Will Smith to pro­mote Sui­cide Squad, she is grap­pling with a bar­rage of per­sonal ques­tions while at­tempt­ing to pro­mote the movie.

“Now that I’ve been in these kinds of sce­nar­ios (hav­ing just pro­moted Tarzan) I’m start­ing to learn that peo­ple have a fas­ci­na­tion with celebri­ties. It’s ironic be­cause I chose act­ing so I wouldn’t have to talk about myself but everyone just wants to know what’s hap­pen­ing in my per­sonal life. I can tell you every de­tail of ( Sui­cide Squad char­ac­ter) Har­ley Quinn’s child­hood but I don’t want to tell you about mine. It’s re­ally odd that peo­ple just want to know about you,” she says.

She also laments that her good looks are of­ten the big­ger sub­ject mat­ter than her bur­geon­ing movie star ca­reer.

“I think it’s a com­mon frus­tra­tion for ac­tresses. We work so hard on story and film­mak­ing and then for that to be pushed aside and everyone to only ask about their cos­tume or the aes­thetic, that’s a frus­tra­tion that I share (with) a lot of ac­tresses.”

Though in the case of Har­ley Quinn, her cos­tume (sure to be pop­u­lar this Hal­loween), can­not be ig­nored. Rob­bie grins. “Well, I love the cos­tume. It shows that this is a bad-ass chick who doesn’t give a sh--. She’s wear­ing it for her­self; she’s not wear­ing it for any­one else.”

Har­ley Quinn is a “bad girl” from the Bat­man universe. She is The Joker’s lover, side­kick and vic­tim of an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship with him. “I’ve known peo­ple who stay in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships, and you think, why?” she says.

Jared Leto suc­ceeds Heath Ledger as the famed ubervil­lain. A method ac­tor, Leto didn’t break char­ac­ter dur­ing the shoot.

His onset an­tics have been well doc­u­mented and were in­cred­i­bly bizarre. As a lit­tle “look for­ward to work­ing with you” gift, he sent his co-stars anal beads, bul­lets and even used con­doms.

Rob­bie says of Leto stay­ing in char­ac­ter: “It was weird at first, but then it was just ‘Mr J’. You didn’t think of him as Jared at all and it seemed nor­mal af­ter a while.”

She adds: “I didn’t envy the po­si­tion Jared was in. For­tu­nately I didn’t have to step into a char­ac­ter that has al­ready been played on screen and I was grate­ful for that, but also grate­ful that I was con­sid­ered to be among that league of bril­liant ac­tors.”

Ledger, of course, was awarded a posthu­mous Os­car, in 2009, for his un­for­get­table ren­di­tion of The Joker.

“I to­tally thought about Heath. His per­for­mance was iconic.” She pauses. “I wish I’d got­ten to work with him. I would have ab­so­lutely loved it but I never even got to meet him. He’s some­one I have deep re­spect for and think he was a bril­liant ac­tor and by the sounds of it, an amaz­ing guy.”

She didn’t have to look far for in­spi­ra­tion to in­habit the role of Har­ley Quinn. “I drew a lot from my nephew. He’s 8 years old and re­ally cheeky,” she laughs.

“You see the world through dif­fer­ent eyes at that age.”

To Rob­bie’s credit, word-of­mouth buzz in Hol­ly­wood is that she’s the best part of the movie. Clearly, it was a role she rel­ished. “I’m not done play­ing Har­ley,” she de­clares. She’s in talks for Har­ley Quinn to star in her own spin-off. “I’m still pinch­ing myself this is all hap­pen­ing,” she says.

Sui­cide Squad opens to­day

Will Smith as Dead­shot and Mar­got Rob­bie as Har­ley Quinn in a scene from Sui­cide Squad.

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